"He's been throwing really good," manager Terry Francona said.
Through five starts for Columbus, Chen is 2-1 with a 1.74 ERA, logging 23 strikeouts and three walks in 31 innings. In the process, he has limited batters to a .178 average. Chen signed a Minor League contract with Cleveland over the offseason and will be appearing in the big leagues with his 11th team when he starts on Saturday.
Over parts of 16 seasons, Chen has gone 82-80 with a 4.58 ERA in 398 games in the big leagues. His most recent Major League stint was with the Royals from 2009-14, when he went 47-43 with a 4.53 ERA in 156 games (113 starts). In 2014, he went just 2-4 with a 7.45 ERA in 13 appearances, while battling back issues.
Another top candidate for Cleveland was veteran righty Shaun Marcum (3-0, 2.00 ERA in three starts at Triple-A), but Francona said Chen's pitching schedule aligned better with the Indians' need for a fifth starter during the series against Minnesota.
"To be very truthful with you, it was hard [to decide]," Francona said. "They're both doing exactly what you want."
The Indians needed to add a starter for Saturday due to placing lefty TJ House (0-4 with a 13.15 ERA in four starts for Cleveland) on the 15-day disabled list this past Friday with inflammation in his throwing shoulder. Francona noted that House was currently back in Cleveland working through his rehab. The manager was not sure if House would rejoin the Major League rotation when he is deemed healthy and activated.
"I honestly don't know," Francona said. "We'll do whatever we think is best for TJ, as far as not just like one start, but for his career."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.